Japan’s rivalry with China reinforces Tokyo’s inclination to avert its eyes from human rights abuses, electoral fraud, corruption and suppression of fundamental freedoms. Tokyo is not opposed to liberal democracy but also not prepared to risk anything to support it.
Civil society is usually seen as a force for liberal reforms, but uncivil society merits more scrutiny. It represents the dark side of the 3rd sector, is subject to elite capture, and can be an advocate for an agenda conducive to authoritarianism. We examine religious organisations in four of Asia’s plural societies– Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.